Opinion: Obama White House defends social invites to top donors. Yawn. At least Lincoln bedroom not in play


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It must universal, the instinct in politics to reward friends.

Turns out that President Obama, who promised a more ethical approach to governance, has been rewarding friends with the perks of office.

According to the Washington Times, fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials if they donate $30,400 (the ceiling) personally or bundle $300,000 before the 2010 midterm elections.


The list of particulars a la the WT: One top donor got a birthday visit to the Oval Office. Another got to use the White House bowling alley for a family event. Obama invited his top New York bundler, UBS Americas Chairman and CEO Robert Wolf, to golf with him during his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. Oh, and at least 39 donors and fundraisers were invited to a White House reception on St. Patrick’s Day.

As scandals go, this sounds like a yawn. After all, there were those heady days of yore, when the Clinton White House offered campaign donrs a night’s sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom.

‘Contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it prohibit the contributor from visiting,’ said Dan Pfeiffer, deputy White House communications director. ‘Given that nearly 4 million Americans donated to the campaign, it’s no surprise that some who contributed have visited the White House, as have grass-roots organizers who didn’t contribute financial support and people who actively opposed the president’s candidacy.’

-- Johanna Neuman

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